Sept. 13, 2021

S1 Ep21: Talking to best-selling Gillian McAllister!

Another great guest this week, in the form of Gillian McAllister. Sunday Times best-selling author, with the TV royalty seal of approval from Richard and Judy, she chats about her journey, her work and the philosophical musings of Taylor Swift.

Read all about Gilly here

Buy her latest smash hit best seller here

See her on the Richard & Judy Book Club here

And listen to her on The Honest Authors Podcast here

Music by Dano songs 

okay failing reuters podcast new episode take 12.

let's try not to mess this one up boys okay

right welcome everybody to another episode of the failing rights podcast we've got to get on with it because there's a lot to pack in this one and it's very interesting it is very interesting it is very interesting not always we're not interested yet again it's a guest that's provided the interest yeah we're just the vehicle for the interesting people to be interested yes so we have author of the scintillating that night it's jillian mcallister

how not to get whiny and moody if richard and judy don't come knocking every time

we are thrilled and honored to welcome on to the failing writers podcast the sunday times best-selling author and more importantly perhaps an author with a richard and judy book club seal of approval it's jillian mcallister hello jillian hi or do you prefer do you prefer jilly during informal chat do you go as julie yeah i write all right but yeah i do sort of go back all right we'll call you jilly if that's all right welcome jillian do you ever get fed up jilly of people uh introducing you with the various sunday times best selling and that you've got a richardson really i mean would would you like yeah would be quite nice it's always a rush i'd be so happy with it if it was me to be fair yeah i think i'd make my mum and dad refer to me as uh best selling like you know just any any conversation would you like a cup of tea best-selling dave bird

uh we do have a bit of a joke in our house if anybody ever says the title of one of my books which is quite easy to say that night i i do make them preface it you know listen to times number eight bestseller or whatever yeah absolutely why not but is it true you've got a rich and judy book club sticker tattoo on your forehead or is that i'm considering it i'm considering where that's work in progress yeah did you do a little dance around the room when you found out that your your latest book had been picked to be featured on the richard and judy book club experience yes i definitely did i knew i was long-listed actually and um they then pick the selection from the long list so i didn't really know the odds and the time scale but um yeah i mean it's like a life-changing kind of moment even if it's like an accolade isn't it um as much as anything else um so yeah and then i had to keep it secret for months um so i was very smug person for months and nobody really knew why i think where were you when you found out you just got a call from your agent or something or was it it was an email from my editor and i was literally just got back from walking my dog and i was just standing in my kitchen and um i just stood there and shot she did that i'm gonna read this email four times and it still does is this real is it yeah it doesn't really feel real yeah it is strange to straight and it's all quite i suppose a lot of things in publishing that they're theoretical for ages and then you kind of they become real months later and by then you're sort of used to the news so it is quite strange often it is just an email but you kind of know your life will change in some way so do you do you see the like the the impact of that straight away in terms of uh in terms of sort of sales or publicity did you know once once you are a richard and judy author um is it like an instant change yeah so i mean it was announced on its publication day that it was in the summer book club and um the sales have been higher and it is i mean without wanting to brag it's currently number one on the kindle store so it has had a match brag

yeah i mean i've never got near that with my past books so um you know yeah it has a big impact what is it is this your sixth or seventh yeah it's my sixth book yeah so it's kind of nice to know things can still happen kind of later in your career yeah so how did how did you get you sort of zoomed back to the first book was that something you'd been writing for a long time because i know with a lot of authors that first book has kind of been brewing for years hasn't it was that was that the case with you the one that was published actually not really and that's right okay why i i mean it took me a really really long time to get published and many books um which i always think it's kind of worth reminding people because it definitely can kind of look like overnight success and so yeah i am i wrote a book in 2014 and um got a couple of full requests but didn't get signed yeah and then wrote a book in 2015 and did get signed and it had two submissions the second one we did kind of a revise and resubmit because most publishers that rejected it had the same problem with it so we took out that problem that's quite good yeah it's quite handy though isn't it well you'd think um and then uh did did the revise and resubmit did the second round everybody rejected it and then wrote another one called what jack did and then the day before it went on submission we re-titled it everything but the truth and that is the one that got the two-bit deal with penguin yeah but i only ever had one offer from penguin and i mean it it and all of my books was a sunday times bestseller but you know it didn't have a massive advance it had one offer i had been rejected on three different submission occasions so you know i was i'm very well acquainted with failure really i think well yeah yeah join the club there um so i was reading that um you studied and worked as a solicitor to begin with so were you were you writing all the time whilst you were doing other things was it was it like that a long-standing dream yeah it definitely was um i actually was off sick um when i wrote my first book the one before the one that got me an agent before the one that got me a publisher i had a sort of immune problem which i now know to be lupus but i didn't know then uh so i was just off and it was almost like a like i was tired but i was able to kind of write from a bed yeah so i wrote then and it was almost a little bit like a plan b because nobody really knew what was wrong with me and um law is it is quite physically demanding on the body because the hours are long and there's a lot of presentation so it was kind of i mean i'd always had a blog and i'd always kind of started novels but that was the first time that i actually kind of saw one through to the end and finished one and then because i got some full requests from agents i then even though i was back at work and healthy i felt i ought to carry on with the fiction really because it was what i'd always wanted to do and i finally had this sort of agent interest and it was quite a difficult few years because i ultimately wrote a second book and then that did get an agent and then i wrote a third book with that agent and all the while i was working full-time i worked for an american law firm which was quite long hours and like high targets so that was really stressful and not not what somebody should be doing when kind of convalescing either i would say um no i imagine not so i basically didn't do anything else like i didn't really have a social life i just sat at laptops and yeah i went part-time pretty much as soon as i could and then quit the year after so like yeah what was that like when you sort of felt confident enough to kind of give up the day job um yeah it was quite a weird moment actually because we were we wanted to kind of move to the country which we now have and we viewed a house that we only would have been able to buy if i was earning what i was from books and what i was in law and something about having to put my money where my mouth was i sat in the car after we viewed this house and i said to my boyfriend what if i only had one job though like and he was like well we can't afford this and it was kind of a moment where i thought yeah i don't actually want to run both horses forever like i actually just want to be a full-time writer and i was lucky enough that um my advances upped because my first book was a bestseller and my second one sustained it um and so financially i could quit but it was more it took me a long time because it's kind of a vocation law and i trained for a really long time and i had a really good relationship with my boss as well and i didn't really want to feel like i'd been kind of taking them for a ride um but yeah basically just walked in one day and quit which was fairly satisfying

absolutely so lads jilly was working in law and writing the rest of the time yeah does that make you feel bad well what do you mean the fact that we why didn't we write more when we actually had the time to write we have instead of going out drinking easy jobs and yet still don't find the time to write around it i suppose yes i guess so john thanks for bringing that up yeah it makes me feel quite guilty if it helps i kind of [ __ ] around all day now well you've learned the feel a bit rights yeah what's your what's your writing structure like now then julie what's up chaotic i would say um so i when i'm writing a first draft i write a thousand words and then i'm allowed my lunch and a thousand words and then i'm allowed my dinner um and that is because if you give me enough rope i'll hang myself so i i have to have a structure otherwise i'll do nothing um so yeah that is what i do and then when i'm editing i sort of change it to a scene in the morning a scene in the afternoon so yeah but it is it is hard working for yourself like i'm a night owl by nature and that is really difficult because i'm constantly in a battle to not get up late like stay up late get up late is what i actually want to do and it's not very normal to get up at 11 o'clock when you're in your late 30s so like i'm constantly in a battle to do that constantly in battle with screen time and procrastination i think that's a brilliant idea though doing a thousand words before you can eat that would definitely work with me yeah and i've always been quite militant about it because i know myself and i know that i really i was trying to write a novel for a decade and not actually producing much and when i got that first agent request i was like okay how am i actually gonna do this and i decided then because i had a full-time job i would write a thousand words a day and i just made myself do it even like christmas day um i still did it and i did produce a book in six months and yeah i think for some people i think that's the only way like other people can kind of moderate themselves but i actually can't really i need a structure from above like i'm at school those people are weird though aren't they julian let's face it those people are weird they really are like i know like my boyfriend can just read his phone and then put it down and then read a book in bed and if i have my phone within a meter of me i'll be on the internet all night like i'm just not i'm not made of the same stuff no it's difficult that does sound like a very good system though because i i want to write more but i also want to lose some weight so it's kind of win-win isn't it if i can't eat anything until you've done a thousand words either your white lots and eat lots or you're right nothing but you will lose weight what i love is that nothing's off limits i mean there's no i can eat any food i want i've already dropped two dress sizes and a shoe size somehow people just can't believe the results of the new fw diet plan simply sign up to our plan then swear a blood oath on the souls of your children that you won't eat a single bite until you've written a thousand words i signed up and the weights just dropped of us i mean literally that i haven't eaten anything in weeks i'm starving please just a little sandwich or a bowl of gravy no not until you've written something but i haven't got any ideas man the failing writer's diet plan hello writer's block bye bye muffin top i feel like i feel like i might write those thousand words very quickly and very badly though just to get to the food that's the downside well that's okay like i'm a big fan of a trash drop well yeah that's true do you do are you a bit of a plotter are you are you kind of full pants to the wind are you how do you work no i am a plotter definitely but i also i am seven for seven on deleting my first draft so i've done it for seven bucks um and then i'll start again so that's a full delete an actual full delete like i obviously don't like you know i'm not a masochist the file is somewhere like i don't like burn my laptop but um yeah so you just use that as like a background reference in your head yeah pretty much like i kind of did this in the past but i've got rid of it yeah it's kind of like now i know what the book is about yeah i normally have a revelation that oh it's actually about this and then i can write from a kind of running start a second draft that then stays um but yeah so i do plan but i mean quite why i don't know because clearly it doesn't work does that not does that take quite a lot of pressure off that first draft though as well i think yeah just helps you just think well i'm just going to write it because i'm going to put it in the bin anyway this is just kind of i mean yeah i think worryingly i always think i won't like so it's been seven times now really i think we can i know i think we can establish that this is a this is a routine this is a system you have yeah it really is um oh my god just imagine the first time if you don't know you'll be like i know i think i'm quite superstitious i think i i almost have to that'll really confuse you yeah i know it would it would spook me actually that book would be the failure i think if it hadn't been deleted is there always a you know now you're very very successful and you've got a good load of books behind you how do you feel about the next book because being an author there's that thing isn't it you're only as good as your last book i know you kind of got the the back catalogue if you like but the agent's going to give you that ring you up or email and go so what's the what's the next one then yeah i think um i think i i'm less afraid of the process because i know now that it's really normal at 40 000 words to hate the book and to feel like nothing happens and like it's easy to just [ __ ] out the draft and delete it i mean that's well exactly i mean no mistakes yeah um so i think i'm more like i'm better with like the fact that the process is full of self-doubt and that's just normal and i can kind of see that for whatever that's a great way of looking at it yeah but i do i definitely get the heebie-jeebies about ideas um i'd i'd like to have like the next 10 books like ideas lined up yeah because it's a big phobia of mine that i just won't have one and they're so like they don't come from anywhere like there's no process for having one you just have them or not so the idea is just kind of for the next book does it just kind of appears at the right time um yeah it does it does fairy actually i had only really just started the one that's just come out when i had a huge idea for the next and i found it completely distracting right and now so that was really early and then i finally wrote that and i had a really good time writing it and i didn't have any idea when i submitted that book to my publisher and i did go off in a bit of a frenzy like you know like i don't know if you watched alan partridge but when he's like dictating stupid ideas that was me like monkey tennis and like exactly so but actually yeah you hustling with chris eubank yeah exactly that was me but yeah they do come and weirdly i started off with a i wanted to write a siege situation um and but i couldn't work out how to do it originally and then i sort of thought about like a siege by analogy where somebody is threatened to do something on jewellery service and then actually i'm not doing that i'm doing something that's a step on from that but it was kind of interesting to see the process of like i was thinking about hostage situations and then suddenly i was like what if a jury member gets told you must make the jury convict this person and then i liked that but then i was like jewelry is a bit it's a bit talky and a bit boring so i'm now doing something like a little bit further on from that but yeah it was interesting to kind of be like i watched it kind of organically arrive whereas some like my previous book which is like a time loop kind of groundhog day book um that just came out of nowhere um but that book was like the golden child i don't know it was the dream so i think it's hard to follow those books sometimes it sounds like a really interesting book though yeah you tell us yeah can you tell us i know it's not out yet but it sounds like a really interesting sort of moral dilemma book with a fantastical it's a little bit i mean it is very much a crime novel but um so it's called wrong place wrong time it's out in hardback next spring and it's about a woman called jen who is waiting up for her 18 year old son todd the night the clocks go back and he's late and he appears outside the house and he has a knife and he stabs a stranger like he commits an act of knife crime and the next day jen wakes up you know intent on figuring out todd's you know in prison like in police custody and she's going to get him a lawyer and everything she goes into his bedroom and he's in there and he doesn't have any recollection of the night before and then the next day she wakes up and it's the day before the day before um so basically she travels backwards each day a day before the murder and she's trying to get to the inception of why he does it um it's kind of about like organized crime and gangs and stuff so um yeah it's my baby that book i did still delete the first draft but it was um it was relatively easy book other than that it sounds like it's got it's got option for film and tv all over that one i hope so although it does have a twist in the middle which i can't really say why but it makes it really hard to option um so i've kind of shot myself in the foot are any of your books being considered at the moment for uh tv yeah there is one with an option and another one had an option that lapse but um honestly like if you think publishing is slow like tv like literally nothing will happen after like four years and then you get an email like we've got a writer we got an actor attached like it is my hand you i used to really obsess over it and then um now i'm like i forget about it and then occasionally get news and think yeah well something might happen speaking of obsessing do you uh do you read your bad reviews as well as you're good yeah i do i pretty much read all the literature on myself late at night um i do that sounds healthy oh yeah really healthy behavior i do think there probably is a um i think it's good to read your reviews because sometimes there is a consensus that really teaches me something you know if a hundred people who don't have a vendetta or anything say i really liked this book but nothing really happened until halfway like i think it's my job to take that on board actually um yeah if your ego can stand it um which you know it should because you can kind you can kind of spot the weird reviews can't you because they stand a mile out because they are weird yeah you know people like people that really hate it or moan about it took five days to come through amazon whatever yeah

they're like the three stars i think are people that didn't love it but didn't hate it um i think that's really interesting um to kind of look at those and learn from them so do you do you think you have a you have a fairly it sounds like you have a fairly powerful internal critic those do those doubts ever get um like too much or do you feel like you can always overcome them i mean i suppose six seven books in you're kind of uh you can silence them quite easily yeah it's weird like you're right i am my biggest critic but my process really would be write something criticize it write it again pick holes in it you know patch up the holes and then think it's good um because it's kind of like yeah nobody is more critical than me um but it can't it's my it's perfectionism really and i think um i think that can be a helpful thing if you can harness it like i just think okay something in my gut's telling me the ending isn't working so i kind of need to listen to that um so i don't think it's like self-doubt as such i think it's like a very critical reader which i am like i am a picky leader i think that gives you strength though doesn't it in the end because you you do think well if my internal critic has been through it and as we've got through that then actually it'll be okay there's there's only so much that can be wrong with it now because yeah i've deleted the first draft and picked it to pieces yeah yeah and it's kind of like i don't i think it was taylor swift who said um that great philosopher exactly yeah it was either her or it was plato yeah um she when she released those two albums in lockdown somebody was like why are you so prolific basically and she said i know how to write a good pop song and i just thought it's kind of a really empowering thing to say because actually most readers actually can spot what's wrong in a novel so we all actually have that kind of power it's just harnessing it um and kind of being able to come up with a solution i think so come on then jillian you just please can you share with us the secret to the best seller what's the magic formula and and how come you're gonna ask her to sing some taylor swift i was thinking how can we emulate the uh the bestseller because we we need to write one now um i think a premise is very important to publishers um so i'm just looking at i've been wondering why that night has been particularly successful and i think it's because you can sum it up in a line right like my protagonist gets a phone call from her sister to say i've killed a man and i need you to help me cover it up and it is immediately my protagonist is flung into that decision and that happens in chapter one which i think getting to that hook is helpful um but i do think there's a lot of things that comment like timing comes into it look most definitely comes into it but i think if you write novels that you can sum up in a line and you work hard on them and you edit them i think a lot of people could get published if they did that and i think most people that don't either don't do that or they give up like i could have given up after two submissions and i didn't know that i was going to sell on the third yeah yeah we did an episode about log lines i think that's really true i think if you can't condense it into that simple phrase then you're going to struggle to uh to sell it it is a very good premise yeah and most books like most books hit the best seller list in their first week so this is not people reading them and going i loved this i'm going to make my friend read it this is retailers deciding how much power and placement to give it um so you need your publisher to love the book um but word of mouth kind of comes later really you need those people that just see it and it hasn't they haven't seen it anywhere they haven't been recommended it they just want to pick it up and that is i mean when i pick a book up i go on title cover and premise yeah but this is on on the cover of uh of that night that there's a quote from i think it's your podcast partner holly um yeah that's right crowned you the queen of the moral dilemma and do you think it's important to have that sort of that sort of style that instantly recognizable style to grow a sort of loyal readership and to sort of agents and publishers want that um so they you know they know you they can consistently sell a particular style i think it's good it's always good to have a usp but i think it can like if you're not doing what anybody else is doing that can also be difficult like i think you would if you wanted to write a thriller i think it's perfectly okay to write you know thrillers that anybody will recognize as a thriller they're solidly in the genre but you do them well or you do something slightly different so yeah i don't really think anybody kind of needs to invent a genre and like so many so many novels contain moral dilemmas um like almost all thrillers actually do i think i've just been kind of mine are sort of quite overt i guess like they're often they zoom in on that yeah but i think no i don't really think it's i i think if you wrote a good thriller publishers would buy it yeah so do that dave yeah okay if only i thought of that earlier but it's great because i've been reading that night and it has got a lot of those sort of moments where um i i feel i have to sort of stop reading it and think to myself what would i do in that situation and you start to reveal a bit of yourself don't you and do you find that when you when you're writing things like this that you you suddenly realize things about yourself that you hadn't before like you know like i mean what would you do if you had to bury your body you do you sort of suddenly reveal some darker elements of yourself yeah i think it's quite i sometimes treat it quite mechanically like in that night they i sort of invented that the perpetrator has a young child to push it to a situation where they are more likely to not ring the police and they had had a previous sort of half altercation with the police earlier in the day that puts them on the back foot a bit yeah um so like i don't know i think the guild would kill me to bury your body like it would just be i'd just dig it back up again to like end the misery i think yeah i think the same thing but the first criminal yeah another part of me starts thinking oh no they shouldn't have done that no they really want to get away with it what they want to do is you know yeah there is a lot of poor old kathy she's getting a lot of stick on amazon for not doing exactly the right things but um yeah i suppose i do like that oh it is readers are sometimes quite pious yeah how people how these it's almost like they think no your characters should make exactly the right decision all the time yeah and like they're making people do it like one o'clock in the morning um like under severe things yeah they're gonna make the wrong you're gonna do something stupid yeah yeah i do think some readers do have a bit of a lack of sympathy there but um it'd also be a really short book wouldn't it well it would yeah quite i mean stupid decisions make plot really um but yeah i do like to kind of i don't know i don't i don't know if other thriller writers like to do this or not but i do like to sort of pose provocative questions of the reader really and kind of i don't know i think it's nice in a book to if you can relate it to yourself when you come away thinking i'm not sure if i would have acted like that but i kind of want to discuss it with someone so i'm going to recommend it anyway like i think that's kind of where word of mouth might kick in if you really relate i think you're going to get a deeper connection with the reader yeah that's it you've got more of that a buy into it haven't you psychologically yeah like one of my protagonists in one of my earlier books shoots a burglar and that really got a lot of people talking and i was kind of looking at the discussions and i mean that's quite a divisive topic anyway um not really just shoot them i mean


that's everything you need to know about tom good to know before you go into tom's house make sure he's absolutely invited you in set foot in there get it in writing don't just let yourself in no no do you do you have siblings yes i do have a sister i buried a body for her

that's what i was wondering she doesn't live next door or anything no she doesn't live next door i know i do feel quite sorry for my sister because it must be quite weird when your sister writes a book about burying a body for your sister in it it's suddenly everywhere she must feel like facts do you get people do you get people um suspecting that they are a character in your book have you ever had anyone saying that was great yeah to which i would say all authors exhaust all of that in their debut so if you're really interested you can make my debut and by now i have to make up my characters sadly which is much harder you were you were a people observer you were sit on the bus and listen to people's conversations and build your character yeah definitely definitely my neighbors had a stonking row at christmas about something that happened at whitson and happens every year and i'm literally waiting for the information like i'm hoping for a follow-up round like i'll say we've got the next one in the diary i know

so you said that um before your sort of first published book came out you'd written a couple that that didn't sort of go anywhere but have you had anything since since that first publication that you could consider a faith we're looking for failures in this in this podcast as you might guess from the title or has it all been since you got that first item out there everything that you've touched has been gold or have there been some some ideas that you've started and then just decided you know what that's not yeah the closest i i mean i'm on quite a tight schedule and i mean i kind of fail every book because i always have a do-over and the hook usually stays the same but i've usually gone in at the completely wrong angle so like the first draft of that night yeah was um they killed a family friend um and when they were shoveling soil on his face i was thinking these are psychos like you can't do this and what was what it was was i wanted to write a book about two families on holiday together and one there was a you know an accident and then it was kind of covering it up from the people you're on holiday with right but it just didn't work it was too like readers would have found it repulsive i think but i wrote the whole book so so will in the book was an old family friend and my characters were monsters yeah so very that's a very very different uh book totally different yeah totally different so yeah so but i did between um my fourth and fifth i had an idea that i really wanted to write which was about a woman who uh is driving is sort of her baby won't sleep so she puts the baby in the back of the car then goes back in the house to get her phone and then another woman who is um running away from something or late for something and needs a car and finds a car idling on the drive and drives it off um and commits kidnap basically yeah but um so i actually got publisher approval from the us and the uk and then when i came to actually sort it out and write a synopsis i was just like this book ends because any normal person would as soon as they see a baby in the back they would take the car back no matter what and i could not find a reason i was thinking what if they find a gun in the car and then they and i was thinking you'd still take the baby back and you tell the police about the gun like i just couldn't make it work um and then i listened to a podcast about witness protection and had the idea for how to disappear which is a family going into witness protection because their daughter sees a crime um and so i jumped it um i hadn't started but i'd spent probably six weeks asking all of my family and friends in what circumstances they would steal apart and you know what if there was a baby why are you asking the baby i could just imagine like a big sort of sunday lunch yeah yeah third week in the room everyone's just sat around the table just rolling their eyes going yeah i know right now well i wouldn't steal a car with a baby i know it's just yes but but right what if yes it's a really it's a really ugly baby is that scraping the right i was like okay but what if like you thought that the parents were like you know you know related to each other or blah blah like it was just awful so um yeah so i jumped that and that that was quite painful but actually weirdly that i'd quite like to read that ridiculous scenarios involved that sounds great i know it was i think it would have been a bit of a like a caper kind of um yeah yeah but that baby in that car is a very small plot in my um my time loop book she has made an appearance um as part of the organized crime group they they [ __ ] it up basically and they're trying to steal cars and then they steal a baby and because they're in a uh it's basically drugs cartel they they do keep the baby um so it's a small part it's like an incidental part of that book which was nice to have my baby in the middle yeah i have an image of you going into the next family that's going it was a drugstore that was the answer exactly and they can be monsters and that's fine yeah that's what they do yeah it's funny though a lot of authors we've spoken to have said that um because we always try and get them to talk about the failures but very rarely are there any because everything that even gets trashed pops up in a few years time to be used in a small way or a big way or starts a new series or whatever or gets picked up on so nothing's wasted yeah and it's funny like if you were if you were kind of learning how to i don't know make tables you you wouldn't regard your first table as oh no it's a total failure like i [ __ ] it up you'd be like well that's learning how to do it and i think that there is a lot of that in fiction and because it's art and stuff and nobody's paying you i guess most importantly for those early books you do shy away from you know having to junk stuff and not you know i've written two books that i didn't sell and will never sell but i think it is actually all it's very normal as part of anyone early in their career has things that are analogous to a failed novel yeah but it doesn't mean that they're not useful in the future or they haven't provided a a stepping stone or a building yeah they would like they will teach you something i learned something from every one of my books that didn't sell for sure and my first book was a different genre so actually if it had sold i would have been writing in a completely different genre forever maybe this is just a quick break to give you the chance to have a stretch shake it out take a deep breath and let's get back to the failing writer's podcast

julia in your podcast what what's uh what's what goes on in your podcast so it's called the honest authors podcast and it's me and holly sudden and um well the bookseller said it's the only podcast where two traditionally published bestsellers talk honestly about um life as a traditionally published best-selling author so that's what we try and do so we interview like publishers and editors and you know we had an editor talk to us about exactly what happens at an acquisitions meeting um which was really interesting and we've interviewed our own agents and talked to them about sort of how they choose things off the slush pile and things like that so yeah it's kind of just to look behind the scenes really at all grand is is that something that's that's ongoing is is it going to be yeah yeah we've done um five seasons i think we've got i think it's about 70 000 listens now yeah so it's um yes it's ongoing we're starting again in september we always have a break over the summer um so yeah we're kind of last season we did sort of round table episodes so we got authors gathered by type so we had like authors who debuted in lockdown for example and we had authors who struggle with their mental health like just a discussion we did prolific authors which was really interesting so authors who published more than one book a year which it was really interesting because they all have exactly the same process um so yeah yeah yes it's still ongoing so yes it's anywhere you listen to podcasts just type honest authors uh well i don't know about you chaps have you got any other any other questions to ask i've just got one more um what are you what are you writing at the moment so i'm writing a book that i am calling double dealing i'm not sure um if that title will stay probably not um and it's kind of a spin on a missing person case and i really can't actually say that because it is still so embarrassing but it's about a corrupt police officer and a missing person but um the missing person is most definitely not where you would expect them to be and my whole book is built around this twist and i'm still kind of trying to put the pieces together i have i'm surrounded by bits of a4 paper with crazy things and on them as we speak and are you how far through that are you have you finished that first draft which you've been or yeah no i haven't even started the thing i'm going to delete um depressingly so yeah i've literally wow so all those words are just going to yeah i've got to write you know 2000 words to write 100 000 let's see so yeah now i'm going to start i think maybe in a week or two um because yeah i literally just delivered uh my time loop book and we've kind of been editing that so um yes it's it's time to time to start this one i usually like to sort of start in the autumn is that your favorite bit of the process the the initial um like first draft like writing that idea out which which bit do you like best or is it finishing here i don't know if i'd really pull up that thread i sort of like to have done it

no i do my favorite bit is when i am really deep into it and it's really working and it's just i write lots of words a day or edit lots a day and then i'm reading it before i send to my publisher and i think i've managed to do it again that's usually my favorite part so yeah class about a week and the rest of the time is just trash self-doubt self-loathing yeah you know staying up late worrying about stuff so and bribing yourself in between meals with the word working yes starving myself yeah you know all right fantastic well it's been lovely talking to you julie thanks for joining us yeah really nice thanks for having me on i listened to your one with cj tudor and i said to my promises can i go on well yeah it's been it's been great talking to you yeah thank you for having me oh thank you for coming on take care thank you all right take care bye-bye

well there we go it was interesting we told you it would be and it was yeah i can't argue with that we don't lie that is what a richard and judy book club person sounds like so chaps yes that was all very well and good but you know straight away we need to be thinking about next week it's just never ending isn't it never ending well i don't know what i'm gonna do next week

it's not an interview i've set up a mystery guest for next week so someone i'm not telling you whether they are male or female or what they do for a living they're a writer by the way but they are going to be joining us and you don't know who they are oh that sounds exciting isn't it that is that is what a mystery guest is are we allowed any clues no uh just none right okay nothing nothing do we know them um you know of them so so yeah get ready for the mystery guest and if you've got any comments about uh jillian if if you're a fan of jillian or you just want to say hello send us a little tweet or an email yeah you know where to send them by now hopefully but it's failing writers podcast or at failingwriters on twitter yeah get in touch it's nice give us a shout and you can find links you can find links to her book and her podcast in our show notes yeah absolutely and um if you're enjoying our podcast do let people that you think would also enjoy the podcast know that you're enjoying the podcast so they can enjoy it too yes screw it tell everyone you never know anybody about it you never know just because gran doesn't write books doesn't mean she won't enjoy the failing writer's podcast yeah grand we're quite popular with grands i think railing writers podcast number one for grand i know a couple of grands that have been injured there we go so uh yeah there you go so join us next week for a mystery guest yeah can't be more exciting than that that is exciting it is exciting exciting yeah exciting all right well let's just say goodbye then shall we tatty bye bye goodbye

hello hello where's everybody gone

next week's episode is like that scene from flash gordon where the guy from blue peter sticks his hand into that thing to see if he'll get bitten by an horrible alien and if you're not over 40 years old you won't have a clue what that means

to be fair betty uh some of us are well over 40 and still have no idea what we're talking about peter duncan flash gordon oh yeah that rings a bell

Gillian McAllister Profile Photo

Gillian McAllister


Gillian McAllister (born 28 February 1985) is a British Sunday Times bestselling author, known for five novels: debut novel[1] Everything But The Truth (2017), which reached number 6 on the Sunday Times Bestseller lists and deals with themes of trust in relationships. McAllister’s subsequent novels have all been bestsellers, including Anything You Do Say (published as The Choice in North America), No Further Questions (published as The Good Sister in North America), The Evidence Against You, How To Disappear, which reached number 8 on the Sunday Times bestseller list, and most recently That Night which was a Richard & Judy book club pick, reached number 8 on The Sunday Times bestseller list and number 1 on the Kindle Store.